In search for athletic talent, Dabur Glucose-D goes on a nationwide hunt with ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’

By Ishita | 25 Aug 2016

India is world renowned for its love of cricket. The sport holds a special place in the heart of every Indian. The latest record made or the performance of the players from the last match played is known by everyone like the back of their hand. Match scores, batting averages, run rates, player reviews etc., are discussed on a daily basis more than anything else. However, as soon as one shifts the focus to any other sport, the scenario takes a complete volt face. Silence replaces the friendly banter and animated expressions make way for blank faces. As well versed as we Indians are with cricket, our knowledge and interest in other sports is sadly dismal.

Unfortunately, the brunt of our disinterest in sports other than cricket is borne by the dedicated sportspersons who suffer from undue neglect. Many of them are prevented from pursuing their dreams and forced to seek an alternate profession due to financial obligations. Nearly every sport other than cricket tells a grim story in our country. Case-in-point, the inspiring but sad story of Sayali Mhaishune.

Sayali is a sprinter who won her maiden U-17 gold medal in a district level sports championship despite running barefoot. The daughter of a cobbler, she could not afford to buy spikes. But determined to participate and despite her inability to buy the right gear, she decided to run in the competition and even won it. She is just one of the examples of the many talented children who have the talent but are left behind in the race to becoming professional athletes because they don’t have the means to pursue their dream or lack support.

Indian hinterland is a hot-bed of athletic talent but poor economic health of families residing in these areas knocks out a large number of participation from competitions. Access to quality resources has always remained a luxury for underprivileged children in our country. While city kids have access to the best of facilities like dedicated sports complexes, training grounds and other sports related assistance; their counterparts in villages make do with playing in the narrow lanes next to their shanty or a small ground in their locality. Having a professional assistance is not even an option. So, is this how we plan to better India’s score tally at Olympics and other sporting events? Are professional sports a luxury only rich or city kids can aspire for? Should we not do something about changing the scenario and make professional sport an option for each and every child of the country? We must!

Taking stock of the situation and to unearth great athletic talent from every nook and corner of the country, Dabur Glucose-D launched a grassroots athletics initiative called ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’ (ADH). With the ADH campaign, Dabur Glucose-D aimed to identify, nurture and support rising stars in track & field and open doors of innumerable opportunities for them to represent India in international championships. The targeted group was of aspiring athletes aged between 12 to 17 in 400m, 1000m and 2000m events.

While Sayali’s touching story became the ground for the genesis of the ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’ campaign; the idea was to reach out to each and every deserving athlete and give them the opportunity to actually live their dream of making it big as a professional athlete. The country is fraught with cases like Sayali and Dabur Glucose-D wanted to provide talented children with a platform to showcase their athletic prowess and become India’s beacon of hope at various international sporting events.

To spread the word and reach out to the TG, the ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’ initiative, made use of every medium. From devising social media campaigns to launching a dedicated website that contained every minute detail about the event and its participation process to creating a TVC; team Dabur Glucose-D left no stone unturned. While Sayali was made the face of the campaign, actor Ajay Devgn became the brand ambassador of the campaign. With a credible name like him associated with the campaign, the word about ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’ spread like wild fire on social media and soon the website was inundated with entries from enthusiastic candidates. The website also had a ‘nominate’ option in which people were asked to nominate a name they though deserved to participate in the initiative but had no means. Hundreds of people nominated kids of their domestic help and other helpers whom they thought had the potential to become India’s next rising athletic talent.

All-in-all, over 7,500 registrations were received out of which 300 children were shortlisted after a stringent screening process that included online checking of their best run time through certificates and other documents submitted by them. The shortlisted candidates were then invited to New Delhi, where the final leg of the event took place. The main ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’ event was a 2 day event held at the Commonwealth Games Village. One day one, all the 300 participants got a chance to get up, close and personal with Arjuna Award winning athlete Ashwini Nachappa. In a tete-a-tete session with the participants, Ashwini shared anecdotes from her running days and few valuable lessons that she learnt on the field and helped shape her as a professional athlete. She encouraged the participants by sharing her running tips with them and wishing them the best for the next day’s final race. Ashwini Nachappa has lend her support to Dabur Glucose-D’s ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’ by taking the winners of the event under her wings and training them under her expert eye at her sports academy in Karnataka.

On day two, the event day, participants started lining up at the venue much in advance. The scorching heat aside, the enthusiasm of the participants remained undeterred till the end. The venue buzzed with excitement and energy of the participants and team Dabur made sure the enthusiasm levels remained at an all time high. Team Dabur Glucose-D and Ashwnini Nachappa announced the event open by releasing colourful balloons in orange, white and green to match the colour theme of campaign in the air. Participants competed against each other in two separate categories, boys & girls, across 400m; 1000m; and 2000m. A total of six winners were chosen from all the three categories and as part of their winning prize took home a medal and a lifetime of an opportunity to train with professionals at Ashwnini Sports Academy. The professional training of all the six winners will be supported by Dabur Glucose-D. Ritu, the winner of bronze medal in 400m girls category, had only word of thanks and acknowledgement on her lips for Dabur and ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’. “Before today, I had never participated in any professional or any national level event. I’m so grateful to Dabur Glucose-D for giving children like me an opportunity to live our dreams with ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan.’ Next time, I am going to encourage people from my village to participate in the event and see their life also change just like mine.”

Among the main winners, Shabnam Shokeen (400m; Avni Ravat (1000m); and Ujala (2000m) took home the gold medal in the girls category while Jainabaj Hussain (400m); Vikas (1000m); and Mohammed Meraj (2000m) were awarded gold medals in the boys category. Thanks to the tremendous response the ‘Ab Daudega Hindustan’ campaign received both offline and online, team Dabur Glucose-D plans to make it in to an annual event so that they can reach out to more and more children across India and give back to the country as many young athletic stars as it can. Maybe, the day India achieves the top spot at various international athletics championships is not far. Let’s hope for the best and meanwhile keep hoping that ‘Ab Zaroor Daudega Hindustan!’